There has never been more information about BJJ available online, and Instagram can often feel like an overwhelming resource to learn from. It’s difficult of course, because the very nature of the social media platform means that every video you see is going to be just a few minutes long or sometimes even just ten seconds or so. Because the platform is free to consume and free to upload, it’s also easy to stumble across flashy techniques that are unlikely to work and in fact, they may even be among the videos getting the most interaction too. That doesn’t mean Instagram is useless though, far from it. It’s definitely possible to learn BJJ from Instagram, it just takes a pretty specific approach that allows you to retain as much information as possible from short videos.
How do you learn BJJ from Instagram?
Learning BJJ from Instagram is very similar to learning from instructionals, and that can be one of the best ways to improve outside of training. Instructionals allow top competitors to give other practitioners hours of in-depth content on a single area for a price and although content on Instagram is free, it doesn’t come anywhere near as well organized as a result. Anyone looking to learn BJJ from Instagram will need to find specific posts on the topics they want to develop, and then save them in order to put together something close to a more complete look at the topic.
This is definitely time-consuming, but that’s essentially the price that you pay for free instruction. The quickest way to find the content you need is to use relevant hashtags, and scroll through the content that frequent contributors post. Some incredible BJJ teachers post regular content, but don’t make good use of hashtags. In order to maximise your chances of filling out a topic you’ll need to manually scroll through what they’ve shown as well. It can be hard to make sure that what you’re selecting will work as there’s a lot of fraudsters out there, but sticking to trusted instructors and high-level competitors will help you avoid that trap.
Is Instagram all you need to learn BJJ?
Definitely not, you can’t learn anything properly without actually practicing it in real life no matter what anyone might tell you. First of all, you need somebody to actual practice on. Seeing something and then replicating it are two entirely different things, and it will take a few attempts before your body understands how to do what you’ve seen. Not just that, but you need the actual feedback that other people can provide, either verbally or in the form of them physically shutting down what you’re trying to do. It’s simply not possible to have this if you’ve got nobody to practice with and a grappling dummy will never be an adequate substitute for this either.
While it’s theoretically possible for two people to get together and learn BJJ from Instagram from scratch, it’s going to be a long journey with incredibly slow development. Realistically, everybody needs someone more experienced than them to assist them. They’ve already made all the mistakes that you’re going to make, and more, so they can tell you to avoid them from the start. This helps you to avoid relying on bad technique that only works against people who don’t know what they’re doing, and prevents something like that from turning into a habit that needs breaking.
Is there a better way to do it?
Without a doubt, a combination of in-person coaching and instructionals are definitely better than Instagram. It’s usually better to get all of your information on a topic from a single source, so that you can be certain that everything you’re learning fits together in a coherent system. Without that, it’s going to take a lot more trial and error to develop a systemized approach to BJJ yourself. That’s why instructionals are so popular, because they are essentially a way for a high-level practitioner to take that job out of your hands and do all the hard work for you.
There are plenty of fantastic free resources out there for learning BJJ of course, but most of the best competitors and coaches on the planet know that they can make money selling these skills and that’s exactly what they do. If you want to learn from the best and in the easiest fashion then you’re going to have to purchase instructionals, or preferably even train under them on a daily basis. In-person coaching is obviously the best method of all but if you’re thousands of miles away from the people you want to learn from, you’ll have to take the best coaching in your local area and instructionals will have to cover what may be missing.
Is it still useful?
Instagram is still a useful tool to learn BJJ and there’s plenty of fantastic content out there even after you remove everything that may not be optimal. It’s often best-used when looking for a solution to a single problem, like a particular submission you need to learn to escape from or a particular guard you need learn how to pass. If you already have a coach supporting your development in person and plenty of training partners, you’ll likely be encountering problems and solving them on a regular basis anyway. At that point, adding in Instagram is simply a good way to supplement your learning.
It can also be especially useful for experienced practitioners who already have a few options from one particular area, and might stumble across something they can add in to their repertoire. Having a level of proficiency in a certain topic makes it much easier to identify something that wouldn’t work from there, and will give you more opportunity to attempt it in training. Not just that, but there’s a ton of high-level BJJ competition footage available to learn from on Instagram as well. Studying this can help you figure out what the most commonly-used approaches to a scenario would be, and some competitors like Gordon Ryan have even broken down their most successful sequences to help educate the public.
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